This week we will discuss the issues with the 10 freeway in downtown LA after a fire caused significant damage and led to the indefinite closure of the freeway. Video footage shows that the concrete pillars of the freeway crumbled during the fire. KTLA’s Erin Myers is reporting live from downtown LA to provide more information on the damage and the closure. It is sounding bad as we learn more about the extent of the damage.
Caltrans needs to assess the structural integrity of the freeway, but they cannot do that until firefighters finish their work to put out the remaining hot spots and flare-ups from the fire. The freeway is currently closed in both directions, with traffic being diverted at Alameda for eastbound lanes and Santa Fe for westbound lanes. It is advised to avoid this area and downtown if possible. David Ortiz from the Los Angeles City Fire Department explains that they are using heavy machinery, such as excavators and a robot firefighter, to safely access the areas underneath the overpass due to concerns about the structural integrity of the columns. They anticipate that the process will take a few hours before Caltrans engineers can assess the structure. The fire was challenging to fight because the amount of heat it generated surpassed the water available from the hydrants in the area.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) had to augment the water supply to help gain control over the fire. Lauren Wonder from Caltrans mentions that they have surveyed the area but cannot inspect it up close yet because it is still too hot and there may be hazardous materials present. Once the fire is completely extinguished, hazardous teams will go in to ensure the area is safe for the structural engineers to conduct their assessments. The engineers will perform hammer and visual tests to determine the strength and structural integrity of the bridge, which will determine whether concrete replacement or rebar replacement is necessary. Although it is still too early to determine, the closure is currently indefinite until Caltrans can fully assess the damage and determine the required steps.
They may need to bring in an emergency contractor to quickly address the structural issues and potentially shore up the freeway if needed. Overall, it is best to avoid the area for now until Caltrans can thoroughly examine the structural integrity of the bridge. Fortunately, no injuries were reported during the fire..